Lessons from the Duel at the Dumpster (Part II)

tacticalprofessor

dumpster fire

There even more lessons we can take away from the Duel at the Dumpster, which we probably could also call the Dumbster Fire. Perhaps the most important lesson of them all relates to the human dynamics of confrontations.

You’re always on video

We have to assume we’re always going to be on video. This is especially true when there are other parties nearby, whether they’re Seconds or just bystanders.

Here is a reasonably good transcript of the first minute of the confrontation.

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2018-09-21 training log

That’s a good way to end the week.

Rep PR of 185×4. I actually had a 5th in me but on rep 2 I felt that weird thing in my neck and opted to not push it. The neck thing is simple: posture issues. Posture is at the heart of a lot of my problems. I know why it happens: day job is unrelenting right now, I’m not unhappy but wearing out — so as the day goes on, slumping over happens. It adds up. I struggle against it, and well… I just have to keep working at it.

Rows I cut back on. As I would row, the elbow pain felt a little more acute so I did some work but dropped it back. The pain isn’t getting any worse, and I’m trying things to help it improve. I’ve been skeptical of flossing, but I’m giving it a shot because why not. I need to remember I have the bands tho and do it 2x/day if I can — it’s just not part of routine yet, not on my radar to do.

But otherwise, felt good today. Looking forward to the deload next week, and what’s ahead.

5/3/1 (5th cycle, leader-2, 5/3/1+PR sets)

  • Press
    • bar x 10
    • 80 x 5
    • 100 x 5
    • 115 x 3
    • 145 x 5
    • 165 x 3
    • 185 x 4 (rep PR)
    • 125 x 10
    • 125 x 10
    • 125 x 10
  • Bent-over Lateral Raises (superset with press warm-up sets)
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
  • Barbell Rows (superset with press work sets)
    • 185 x 8
    • 185 x 8
    • 185 x 8
  • Wide-grip Pulldowns
    • 105 x 10
    • 145 x 12
    • 145 x 11
    • 145 x 8

and then I did some plate pinch grips: 2 10# plates smooth sides out, pinch with fingertips, hold for 20 seconds, switch hands, switch back, switch back, then rest for a minute or so, repeat. Just because.

2018-09-20 training log

That was pretty cool.

Great rep PR of 440×7.

What’s great here is that things are going up here across the board, in both reps and weight. Like last cycle’s 5s week topped at 385×9 then this cycle’s 5s week was 395×9. Last cycle’s 3s week was 410×7 and tdhis 420×8. Last cycle’s 1s week 430×6, and then today 440×7.

This is pretty damn cool.

I feel like 500 is completely reachable by the end of the year. In fact, I feel like I could hit 500 deadlift, 300 bench, and 200 press (squat… well, just unfucking that is my goal right now).

One thing I did notice since I’m trying to look for weakness issues, I am feeling slow off the floor. Hrm. Dovetails into my thinking on squats and other stuff. So instead of hip thrusts I opted for RDLs just to see how it would go. I felt it mostly in my lower back, but after 3 sets was like “hrm, is that a bit of glute and hamstring work?” But then the reverse hypers confirmed it… oh man! Driving home was mighty uncomfortable. 🙂 So yeah, I might stick with this for a bit.

Anyways, things are good. Happy day.

5/3/1 (5th cycle, leader-2, 5/3/1+PR sets)

  • Deadlift (superset with band pullaparts)
    • 185 x 5
    • 230 x 5
    • 280 x 3
    • 350 x 5
    • 395 x 3
    • 440 x 7 (rep PR)
  • RDL
    • 225 x 8
    • 275 x 8
    • 275 x 6
  • 1-Leg Reverse Hypers
    • 115 x 20e
    • 115 x 20e
    • 115 x 20e

2018-09-18 training log

The PR’s keep coming.

Top set of 260×6. And this is why I’m reconsidering forcing a reset after this cycle (well, next cycle) — if on the 1+ week I’m hitting 6-ish reps — and doing so in bench, deadlift, press (squat is another matter), it’s not really appropriate yet to reset IMHO. I ought to go as long as I can. But what will I do? Probably just take it cycle to cycle. Stay on a reasonable program and just see how it goes, because I wouldn’t expect a LOT more, maybe 1-2 additional cycles, but I ought to take them.

Anyways, today was OK. The PR was welcome, but everything else was just bleah. I had no gas, reps way down. Just nothing. I can guess a few reasons.

Just pushing along.

5/3/1 (5th cycle, leader-2, 5/3/1+PR sets)

  • Bench Press
    • bar x 10
    • 110 x 5
    • 140 x 5
    • 165 x 3
    • 205 x 5
    • 235 x 3
    • 260 x 6 (rep PR)
  • Bent-over Lateral Raises (superset with bench warm-up sets)
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
  • DB Rows (superset with bench work sets)
    • 95 x 12e
    • 95 x 12e
    • 95 x 12e
  • Curl-Grip Pulldowns
    • 90 x 10
    • 120 x 15
    • 120 x 10
    • 120 x 8

2018-09-17 training log

That was OK.

Again, I’ve changed up my squat approach to try to fix things. It’s still too early to tell, but so far I’m liking things.

I like the increased warm-up. I feel that gets my body happier, and also is giving me a little more time at lighter weights to ensure technique is where it should be.

I like the fact the top work is singles. That allows me to pour everything into that rep to ensure I do have all technique where it should be.

And I am hitting depth and feeling more confident about it. I really wanted to take video today for assessment, but the gym was rather busy and all the racks taken. There was no way I could get reasonable video and not infringe upon someone else’s space and workout, so no video. Bummed tho, because I am VERY curious to see where I am with things.

Biggest thing I’m doing with technique is not trying to adjust it! Just do what I do! My torso goes over more, and well that’s just how it is because of my body dimensions. Just squat.

But that said, I am trying to analyze any weaknesses — where are things breaking down and failing? That’s why I wanted video today. One small change I did make was re-reading something about bracing. Take in that breath and push into the belt. However, don’t just push forward into the belt — push 360º into the belt. I think that’s a cue from Chad Wesley Smith. Makes a big difference in tightness and stability, and I felt it today. I used this cue long ago but obviously forgot about it. But it is one I want to remember as I do think part of my problem is losing torso/upper-back tightness.

Anyways, I felt alright.

I also am taking the reduced workload as a good thing. My knees weren’t happy the past some weeks, but have been feeling better the past some days. A little more glute emphasis, and a little less work — goes together to help my knee condition. I am struggling to embrace the “do less work to gain more” mentality – I want to do more work! But I think I am going to have to embrace the “how little work can you do to still progress/gain” approach – for the sake of longevity.

For that matter, I also dropped all upper body work today, again for the same reason: reducing workload to help with recovery.

But, I do think one thing that would do me good would be to add a 2-3 sets of calf raises and ab work (e.g. planks – something for stability, to help me reinforce that 360º tension). It’s not big work, shouldn’t tax me much; and I would think should help.

Thinking beyond…

Next week is 7th week deload. I will deload the Wendler way, using the weights I plugged in for this Strong-15 run.

Then the next cycle will be 3/5/1, PR, Joker, but squats will stay solidly on the Strong-15-style approach (no PR, no Joker).

I’ve also been thinking about maybe not resetting after that cycle. I think I’ll see where things lie come that time. If I could progress even one more 3-week cycle, I will. I think it’d do me well to milk this as long as I can, then reset and mini-cut. We shall see.

5th cycle, leader-2; was 5/3/1-based, now trying to fix my squat

  • Squat (superset with band pullaparts)
    • bar x 10
    • 135 x 8
    • 165 x 5
    • 190 x 4
    • 225 x 3
    • 250 x 2
    • 290 x 1
    • 300 x 1
    • 310 x 1
  • Pause Squats
    • 250 x 3
  • 1-Leg Leg Press
    • sled x 15
    • 180 x 15
    • 270 x 15
    • 360 x 15

Sunday Metal – Rob Halford, 45 years of singing

This is a pretty cool video I stumbled into.

The video plays clips of Rob Halford singing over the past 45 years, mostly live performances. It’s really awesome to hear some of Rob’s earliest performances, his heyday, and then how he’s singing today. He can’t sing today like he used to, but he can still sing better than most people. What’s more interesting is to see how he’s adapted his vocal style to remain true to his style, but also adjust to the realities of life.

Well worth the listen, especially to hear some of those early gems.

The importance of being seen

Which is more important?

To see? Or to be seen?

I’m not talking about social media or the party scene… I’m talking about walking around, especially in the dark.

I drive to the gym in the early morning. It’s dark, and by definition difficult to see well.

But I do see a good number of people walking. It appears they are walking to work, or to the bus stop to get to work. They make a lot of assumptions about those early morning hours, such as “no one is around”. So they cross the road whenever they feel like it, instead of at well-lit intersections and crosswalks. They walk with the flow of traffic (instead of facing it). They wear dark clothing. On this last part, I can’t always blame them: some are wearing the required uniforms so they have little choice, or you just try to have some variety in your clothing so sometimes it’s going to be dark.

And it makes it difficult for them to be seen.

I also see a lot of drivers making the same assumption that “no one is around”. There’s a strong disregard for stop lights/signs. With fewer cars on the road, they’ll go faster. They don’t expect people are walking around, in the road. They drive as if they are the only ones on the road.

Can you see how this is a recipe for disaster?

My gym is in an industrial area, so as I get close to the gym I sometimes encounter folks walking to their construction job and they are wearing reflective vests. I love those people, because the area is poorly lit and now I can strongly see you. That’s good for both of us.

What gets me tho is how in all this time I’ve seen only once or twice someone using a flashlight. Everyone seems content walking in the dark. It’s not even an issue of boogeymen, but simply being able to see what one is about to step into. Recently we’ve had a lot of rain in Austin, so there’s mud, puddles of unknown depth, debris – the other morning I saw a woman walking over grass and nearly wipe out from what I assume was a muddy spot she didn’t see.

Flashlights are wonderful things! You can use them to see what’s around you, what you’re walking into. You can also use them to help others see you! When you cross the street, turn the light on. If you don’t need to shine it forward to see, shine it downwards  – that light-spot on the street will catch eyes and help you to be seen.

And a flashlight is better than those little lights or reflectors. The little lights are often too small, get obscured easily, and just don’t have enough power to cut through the darkness to be seen at a distance. Reflectors simply reflect: they don’t help you see (but they are better than nothing).

Get a good flashlight, with as many lumens as you can afford. I love SureFire flashlights, but there’s a lot of good inexpensive LED-based flashlights out there (Fenix comes to mind). After you get the flashlight, carry it and use it.

Yes, pedestrian safety can be improved by having drivers be more aware. But it’s only part of the equation, and one you cannot control. Take responsibility for your own safety – don’t put it in the hands of others. If you’re walking in the dark, have a good flashlight and use it. It helps you see, and to be seen.

 

2018-09-14 training log

Going forward and pulling back.

So Press progress continues well. Hit a top set of 175×6 for a rep PR. I wanted 7 but it didn’t happen. Still, that was a reach: on paper was a maybe, but 6 is really in line with things. So, not what I wanted, but I’m OK with it.

But then I’m pulling back some. I forgot that over this 6-week cycle I wanted to continually scale back my supplemental work: first 2 weeks 5 sets, next 2 weeks 4 sets, and final 2 weeks 3 sets. So all this week should have been 3 sets but I did 4 – except for today. I’ll be doing 3 next week.

I’m also trying to trim back arm work. It’s all a desire to reduce irritation of my elbow. It’s going to take a while, but I have to start now. I’ll try to continue to do something, but just nowhere near the volume I was. Ah well. At least it cuts my sessions much shorter so I can get back on the bike for a bit (knees are probably happy about this) and still get home early enough to make morning meetings.

Next week is 1+ week. Then 7th week deload. After that, the cycle I’ve been thinking about. I think I’ll go 3/5/1 (3+/5/1+, strictly speaking). I am also thinking about adding Jokers, but that will probably be minimal, like maybe just 1 set of 1. Again, it’s about keeping inflamation down. Assistance work will be minimal. And I’m thinking that after that cycle, take the light deload week, and then the week after that each day see about establishing a new 1RM. Or maybe during the deload week; have to see how the calendar works out, and even how I feel at the 1+ week then. I think the motivator here are 3 things: I feel like I could set a bench press best, maybe not 300 but close; I feel maybe 80% confident right now I could deadlift 500; and I feel 90% I could press 200. Those would be some cool milestones. But we’ll see. As much as I’d love to hit them, I actually don’t feel in a huge rush.

And then I think beyond this what to do. My current thought:

  • reset weights, regardless if I need it or not.
  • continue with 5/3/1 approaches
  • take basically 5’s PRO approach
  • then up things to be more hypertrophy focused – build some muscle
  • or rather, try to not lose anything. Because I’ll want to try a 6 week minicut to shed what I can in 6 weeks (10# would be awesome).
  • and then keep progressing back up.

Key is that I want to do a 6-week minicut to trim off some flab.

5/3/1 (5th cycle, leader-2, 5/3/1+PR sets)

  • Press
    • bar x 10
    • 80 x 5
    • 100 x 5
    • 115 x 3
    • 135 x 3
    • 155 x 3
    • 175 x 6 (rep PR)
    • 120 x 10
    • 120 x 10
    • 120 x 10
  • Bent-over Lateral Raises (superset with press warm-up sets)
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
  • Barbell Rows (superset with press work sets)
    • 185 x 10
    • 185 x 10
    • 185 x 9
  • Wide-grip Pulldowns
    • 105 x 10
    • 145 x 12
    • 145 x 10
    • 145 x 8
    • 145 x 8
  • Stationary Bike
    • 10 min

2018-09-13 training log

Today was great. Set a fantastic rep PR of 420×8.

When I was entering data into RepCount and figuring what I needed to hit, 8 reps seemed logical. However, doing a 1RM calculation comparison (which only means so much) it was rather a large jump in my progression. Still, relative to my other recent top sets and rep PRs, it was the place to go. So I went there.

I will say, before too long I do want to try for a true 1RM in deadlift and see if I can break 500. On paper it’s possible, and it’d be a fun milestone to hit.

In other news…

I’ve been thinking about fixing my squat. One thing that constantly nags at me is the vast difference between my squat and deadlift. Some difference is natural, but I’ve got rather a HUGE gap. So I’ve been reading up on this again. Long story short, I’m suspecting my glutes are weak. I mean, I’m weak. Often the mantra is “you don’t have weak points, you’re just weak”. And that’s true. But the same people also go on about assistance work being important to bring up weak points — so which is it? Am I to care about weak points or not? If I am going to do extra work, it ought to have a purpose towards fixing problems, right?

What really got me tho was in a lot of my reading it made me think back to my PT assessment for my knee issues. It came out in there my glutes were weak, and weak glutes can have a big impact on knee tracking — all my issue. I’ve been doing all this PT work towards my quads, esp. my VMO, but really I think I’m hitting the wrong thing.

Furthermore, a couple folks mentioned the same thing: do you ever feel it in your glutes? I almost never do, which is a clue. As of late, the 1-leg reverse hypers are finally a place where I really feel it! I also recall feeling it in something else – I think front squats – but can’t find the reference in my logs (still looking).

Point being, I’m going to start looking at things to do for my glutes. Not 100% sure what I’ll do just yet, since some thing I’ve done in the past of course are supposed to work it, but I don’t feel it there. So… it’ll be some experimentation to find stuff. And today I did some. Instead of belt squats, I did leg presses with my feet high on the plate and a bit wider. I actually felt it more in my adductors, but I think there’s something to it because the reverse hypers were a little tougher.

And I think I’ve finally got a good groove on the 1-leg reverse hypers, so I’ll probably up the weight a bit. This won’t be for sets of 5, but I do want to get maybe into that 8-12 range towards actually building some strength in there.

anyways, more to think about.

I dumped upright rows and the cable curls. Give the elbow a break.

5/3/1 (5th cycle, leader-2, 5/3/1+PR sets)

  • Deadlift (superset with band pullaparts)
    • 185 x 5
    • 230 x 5
    • 280 x 3
    • 325 x 3
    • 375 x 3
    • 420 x 8 (rep PR)
  • Leg Press (feet high and wide)
    • 90 x 25 (playing with foot position)
    • 180 x 20
    • 270 x 12
  • 1-Leg Reverse Hypers
    • 90 x 20e
    • 90 x 20e
    • 90 x 20e
  • Stationary Bike
    • 10 min

2018-09-11 training log

Bench continues to do well, hitting a top set of 250×7 and a rep PR.

What gets me the most is it wasn’t too long ago I couldn’t move this weight for anything because of the pains in my arms. I’ve been able to manage that pain, so I’m really happy to be moving this weight now in general, but also setting new PRs with it.

Played with my setup a bit. Saw a video from EliteFTS (which of course now I can’t find) on dealing with unracking the bar solo on bench press. I don’t use a spotter so I’m always unracking by myself, but there were a few tips in here that I thought were quite useful. One big one is setting up a little further in — so instead of the bar being over my eyes, it’s getting more over my nose or mouth. Thus there’s barely any horizontal distance I have to move the bar out of the hooks into position. I’m still playing with it (this was the first session), but I’m digging it — tho it felt a little weird. Seems obvious now, but apparently wasn’t. 🙂

Everything else was just the supplemental and assistance work.

One thing that bugged me tho was the pushdowns. Even tho it was a really light weight, my left elbow wasn’t having it. I did some, allowing my hand to go from supinate to neutral a bit, which helped ease some stress. But I’m feeling that I just need to eliminate extra triceps work. I’ll probably have SOME light biceps work, some. But I think triceps work outside of the bench press and press work I do just has to go away entirely for a while. Ah well.

5/3/1 (5th cycle, leader-2, 5/3/1+PR sets)

  • Bench Press
    • bar x 10
    • 110 x 5
    • 140 x 5
    • 165 x 3
    • 195 x 3
    • 220 x 3
    • 250 x 7 (rep PR)
    • 165 x 10
    • 165 x 10
    • 165 x 8
    • 165 x 6
  • Bent-over Lateral Raises (superset with bench warm-up sets)
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 10
  • DB Rows (superset with bench work sets)
    • 95 x 12e
    • 95 x 12e
    • 95 x 10e
  • Curl-Grip Pulldowns
    • 90 x 10
    • 120 x 15
    • 120 x 15
    • 120 x 8
    • 120 x 8
  • 1-hand supinated grip Pushdowns
    • 30 x 15e
    • 30 x 15e
    • 30 x 15e
  • Cross-Body Alternating DB Curls
    • 20e x 20e
    • 20e x 20e